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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 18 April 2005






Weekly Update 18 April 2005




·         Invasive Species – Legislation

·         Energy Efficiency – Appropriations

·         Chesapeake Bay – Appropriations

·         Great Lakes – Appropriations

·         Brownfield Financing – Report

·         Brownfield Redevelopment for Local Governments – Course Announcement

·         Brownfield Redevelopment – Legislation

·         Electricity Interconnections – Amendment


Invasive Species – Legislation


Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) last week introduced legislation to reduce the risk of harm to U.S. aquatic ecosystems and natural resources from aquatic invasive species.  The National Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2005 would reauthorize and strengthen the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 in order to protect U.S. waters by preventing new introductions of aquatic invaders.  The bill provides for rapid response when new invaders are discovered, for controlling those species that are established in our waters, and for researching pathways of introduction as well as prevention and control technologies.  The bills are numbered S. 770 and H.R. 1591 and H.R. 1592.  Contacts:  Allegra Cangelosi with the Northeast-Midwest Institute (202/464-4007) and Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force (202/224-1211).



Energy Efficiency – Appropriations


Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) are requesting signatures on a letter supporting critical energy efficiency programs in the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2006.  The letter requests $250 million of the Weatherization Assistance Program, $50 million for the State Energy Program, $34.3 million for the Gateway Deployment programs, at least $76.4 million for the Industrial Technologies Program, $62 million for the Distributed Energy Program and $86 million for the Energy Information Administration.  Contact:  Kris Sarri with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (202/224-0606).


Senators Snowe and Leahy also are requesting signatures on a letter supporting $1 million for Department of Energy’s Oil Heat Research Project.  This project helps consumers and small businesses substantially reduce the cost of heating through the development and application of energy-efficient technology.  Contact:  Kris Sarri with the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition (202/224-0606).


Chesapeake Bay – Appropriations


Twenty-one House members recently signed the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force’s funding request to the House Appropriations Committee.  The request focused on 21 regional programs and projects that protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  In addition, the Task Force asked to increase funding for five national programs (Clean Water State Revolving Fund and five U.S. Department of Agriculture programs -- EQIP, CSP, AMA, FRLPP) critical to Bay restoration.  Contact:  Peter Marx at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (202/464-4008).


Great Lakes – Appropriations


The House and Senate Great Lakes Task Forces are circulating letters in the House and Senate requesting funding for several Great Lakes programs, such as the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, the Great Lakes Legacy program, and the Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Restoration program.  The signature deadline is April 25th. Contact:  Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Force at (202/224-1211).


Brownfield Financing – Report


Because capital gaps remain the biggest barrier to brownfield redevelopment, more than half the states have created some type of brownfield financing program.  A new Northeast-Midwest Institute report describes some notable examples of successful state tools and strategies for filling capital gaps in brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects.  They include targeted financial assistance; tax incentives; planning, assessment, and cleanup programs; and infrastructure development.  The report can be obtained at www.nemw.org/BFStateFinTools.pdf.  Contacts: Charlie Bartsch (202/464-4005) or Barbara Wells (202/464-4019) at the Northeast-Midwest Institute.


Brownfield Redevelopment for Local Governments – Course Announcement


The USEPA, Northeast-Midwest Institute, and University of Illinois at Chicago Great Lakes Center for Environmental Training (in cooperation with HUD) will be presenting a training course to help local governments identify, clean up, and redevelop brownfields. The course will be offered in Chicago during the week of June 20, 2005, and in Kansas City during the week of August 1, 2005.  The courses are open to all who may be interested.  The course will include hands-on case studies, including site visits.  Additional information at for Chicago and for Kansas City.


Brownfield Redevelopment – Legislation


Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) recently introduced the Brownfield Redevelopment Assistance Act (H.R. 1237) – similar to legislation developed in the last Congress by Reps. Marty Meehan (D-MA) and Jack Quinn (R-NY) – that would provide grants through the Department of Commerce to brownfield projects.  Funding would be targeted toward projects that restore employment and bring new income and private investment to distressed communities.  Contact:  William Rys with Rep. Hart (202/225-2565). 


Electricity Interconnections – Amendment


Since the Northeast-Midwest region lacks traditional energy supplies, it must use its power efficiently and take advantage of modern technologies.  Unfortunately, many of those efficient technologies face barriers, particularly when they try to connect to the electricity grid.  Reps. Steve Buyer (R-IN) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced a successful amendment last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would help overcome those barriers, thereby increasing the reliability and security of our power supply.  The amendment can be found at http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Markups/04072005/54_Scan001.PDF


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